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What is a Floor Outlet?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 16, 2024
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Floor outlets are electrical outlets that are installed into a floor area rather than into a wall. Often, a floor outlet will be equipped with a metal plate to protect the outlet and wiring, along with a cover that prevents dust and other material from collecting in the outlet when the device is not in use. Outlets of this type are usually found in dens and living rooms of homes, as well as in conference rooms or other larger gathering areas in offices and public buildings.

As with any type of outlet, the floor outlet is intended to allow easy access to electrical current. Because the plug can be placed at any point along the floor, it is possible to strategically position several outlets within a space, creating easy access to electricity even when a power source is needed somewhere other than along a wall. When not in use, covers snap or slide into place in order to protect the outlets and also to allow the floor to retain a smooth surface.

Beneath the surface of the floor, the configuration of the floor outlet is similar to that of a standard wall outlet. The plugs are housed in an outlet box and normally connected to a central junction box that helps regulate electric power flow. Wiring runs from the outlet box to the central junction in the same manner that electrical wiring runs through walls to a central power source.

While it is possible to use plastic or porcelain plates with a floor outlet, the general recommendation is to utilize metal plates. Durable metal is much less likely to be damaged if the outlet is stepped on when not in use. The metal covers can hold up well to a lot of weight, which will help to keep the general appearance of the outlet simple and clean. When necessary, the metal plates can be outfitted with covers that are spring loaded to snap closed when the outlets are not in use.

In terms of function and appearance, a floor outlet can be helpful in many situations. In a conference room, an outlet in the floor under the conference table makes it much easier to plug in audio visual equipment without running extension cords to a wall outlet. In the home, the presence of a floor outlet in the living room aids in arranging the furnishings, since major seating areas do not have to remain near a wall in order to include the presence of accent lamps in the grouping.

Installing a floor outlet is very similar to the installation of a wall outlet. As with any type of electrical wiring project, it is recommended that the installation only be conducted by a properly certified electrician.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including HomeQuestionsAnswered, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon158044 — On Mar 05, 2011

We are building a new room. Can the floor outlets be placed flush with the subfloor so we can then fashion a cover from the same flooring as the rest of the floor (bamboo) so that it blends in when not in use?

By anon152835 — On Feb 15, 2011

Did any of you figure out a solutions for you recessed floor outlet problems? i too want to plug an extension cord in, and for it to lie flush with the floor. I tried an adapter, but they are all about 1/2" too long.

By jrobinso — On Jan 03, 2011

What kind of extension cord should I use in a floor outlet. The outlet seems too deep to use a flat receptacle plug. I want the plug at the outlet to be as close to flush as possible.There will be a rug over it as well as an ottoman.

By joaneecee — On Aug 05, 2009

Again, I have a recessed brass outlet on floor under my grand piano. Of course it's one outlet. What's the solution in order to plug in two appliances?

By anon26092 — On Feb 08, 2009

We have 2 sunken electrical outlets in our living room floor. We want to plug in heavy duty surge protectors for our home theater components, but all the ones we have found have right angled plugs, while the outlet only takes straight plugs, and only one.

What can we do? Is there a way to make the outlet flush with the floor? If not, is there an adapter or extension cord that could be used with a surge protector and not void it's warranty? I'm posting from Canada, if that makes any difference. Thank you!

By anon26060 — On Feb 07, 2009

I'm assuming the outlet is located under the conference table since people seem to hit it when stretching their legs. Could your maintenance department create a square with the top and bottom open? It could serve as barrier around the outlet and prevent anyone from unintentionally coming in contact with the plugs. It could be bolted into place so the barrier would not move even if someone stretched their legs with gusto.

By anon26000 — On Feb 06, 2009

Are there covers available that will protect the outlet while in use?

We have a conference room with this type of outlet and people are constantly knocking into the outlet while stretching their legs... we often lose an A/C or IT connection, or both, and are looking for a solution to this problem. Thank you in advance for all replies.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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